In response to President Obama's comments on energy policy, the environment, and global warming today, NTU Executive Vice President Pete Sepp offered the following statement:
"Affordable, abundant energy can help propel our economy to a stronger, broad-based recovery, but only if elected officials have the foresight to advocate sensible tax and regulatory policies. Unfortunately, today's proposal from President Obama still falls far short of those goals. In the past, the Administration and its allies have advocated everything from a cap-and-trade regulatory regime, to higher taxes on traditional energy producers, to stifling regulations that drive up the cost of powering the nation. Its latest soft-sell strategy will still lead to hard choices among electricity generation firms, whose consequences could show up in higher utility bills at a time when consumers and businesses desperately need more, not less, financial security. Coal-fired electricity would be especially hard-hit, with serious consequences both for the people who work in the industry and the people who depend on its product. Oil and natural gas could also be in for another round of punitive treatment at the hands of the federal government. Ramp-ups in subsidies and other favors for "green energy" would mean more headaches for taxpayers and more government mismanagement.
"President Obama made a handful of intriguing points, such as acknowledging the potential for hydropower and working to bring down trade barriers on environmental goods and services. Overall, however, government can do hundreds of things, large and small, that would be better for the economy and the environment than this plan. They include reforming a tax system that currently discourages technological innovation, establishing clear development policies that will still allow us to become a net energy exporter, allowing the market to determine energy investment, and clearing away the regulatory thicket that obstructs more efficient movement of goods and people (with lower emissions to boot).
"Policymakers on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have to focus on these priorities now, if they want a more prosperous, environmentally sound future."